Tue, Mar 19, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

Staff writer, with CNA

HEALTHCARE

Prozac taken off market

Prozac, a brand of the antidepressant fluoxetine, commonly used to treat depression, is to be withdrawn from the Taiwanese market starting next month. Zuellig Pharma Ltd (裕利) has informed healthcare facilities that it would no longer provide Prozac 20mg from April 1. The National Health Insurance (NHI) Administration’s drug expenditure target system cuts drug prices every year, while the costs of ingredients and shipping have increased, stripping Zuellig of profits, the firm said. Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co has informed Zuellig that it would no longer provide Prozac for the local market, but would still fulfill orders made before March 29, Zuellig said. The NHI price for Prozac has been cut from NT$2.08 to NT$1.96 per tablet. Prozac is a first-line medication widely used to treat depression, and has fewer side effects than comparable medicines, but there are generic drugs in Taiwan that can replace it, Taiwan Pharmacist Association spokesperson Chang Wen-ching (張文靜) said. People who are taking Prozac should consult a doctor on how to change their medication, she said.

LABOR

Fewer on unpaid leave

The number of workers on unpaid leave in the first half of the month fell from the previous two weeks, Ministry of Labor data showed. As of Friday last week, the number of workers who had agreed to go on furlough was 289, down from 492 in the past two weeks of last month, the ministry said. Meanwhile, the number of employers implementing unpaid leave also fell in the first two weeks, dropping from 23 in the previous two weeks to 18, the data showed. From March 1 to 15, seven employers terminated their unpaid leave programs, while two adopted new ones, the ministry said. Most of the companies that had employees on unpaid leave were small enterprises with a workforce of fewer than 50, with three exceptions, it said.

FISHERIES

Stabbing suspect arrested

A Filipino man who was arrested on suspicion of killing two other crew members on a Taiwan-registered fishing boat in the Indian Ocean last month was yesterday brought to Taiwan for questioning, the Coast Guard Administration said. The man is suspected of killing two crew members and injuring two others during an argument on board the Wen Peng on Feb. 20, while other crew members jumped overboard during and after the knife attack. At the time, the Pingtung-registered fishing boat was sailing about 1,540 nautical miles (2,852km) from the Mauritius capital of Port Louis with a crew of 24 — three Taiwanese, 10 Filipinos and 11 Indonesians. Six crew members remain missing.

DIPLOMACY

Eswatini minister visits

Swazi Minister of Health Lizzy Nkosi on Sunday arrived in Taipei for a five-day visit aimed at enhancing bilateral exchanges in the areas of health and medical care, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Nkosi, who was appointed in November last year, is accompanied by a delegation that includes Swazi Deputy Director of Clinical Services Velephi Okello, the ministry said. The delegation was to meet with Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), and Nkosi and Taiwanese officials were to discuss ways to enhance two-way exchanges. The delegation is also to visit the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund and a number of hospitals in Taipei, it added.

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